Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Last Post on This Blog - 此博客最后博文

Dear readers:

Thank you for having supported this blog.

Though I believe that the theme of "此岸,彼岸 ... - This Shore, that shore ... " is going to continue to generate discussions and debates, I have concluded that I simple spend enough time and energy to sustain a meaningful dialogue on this platform.  There are many engaging websites and blogs devoting to the landscapes of the U.S. and China and the comparison and contrast between these two cultures and I hope you will continue to pay attention to this important issues, for a better future and understanding.

I will continue to write on my main blogs: Matthew Felix Sun - Art · 文化 · Kunst - a website dedicated to art scenes, including my own works and announcements. 

You may also find the portal to my blogs via my website:

Again, thank you and best wishes,

Matthew Felix Sun

感谢您支持这个博客。 虽然我相信我的主题 “此岸,彼岸 ... - This Shore, that shore ... ​​” 会继续引发讨论和辩论,我认识到我没有足够的时间和精力,在这个平台上维持一个有意义的对话。有很多网站和博客致力于放映美国和中国的风景和这两种文化的对比和反差,我希望您能继续关注这一重要问题,为一个更美好的未来和理解努力。

我会继续写我的主博客:Matthew Felix Sun - Art · 文化 · Kunst - 一个致力于艺术文化的网站,以及展示我自己的作品和公告。 您也可以通过我的网站到达我的博客:


Matthew Felix Sun

Liberation Road / 解放路 / Befreiungstraße 
Liberation Road / 解放路 / Befreiungstraße
Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"
Completed in 2010

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

出差报销和公款吃喝 Business Trip Reimbursement and Public Funds for Food and Drinks

最近看到中国关于公款喝茅台的争论 - 有人竟提出“不喝茅台喝什么”。可见,中国的公款吃喝让美国望尘莫及。

加州大学,和其他加州公共机关一样,对出差人员的报销数额有严格规定。每人每天, 旅行,住宿和通讯之外,目前每人每天有$64的饮食定额。住宿旅馆开销也有规定,特殊情况,比如会议旅馆是唯一可行的选择,即使超标,经特别批准后,也可以报销。$64的饮食报销不能包括含酒精饮料。出差人员可以饮酒,但酒类开销要从报销单中除掉。

公务接待允许有限度的公款吃喝 -

早餐 - $26
午餐 - $45
晚餐 - $78
点心 - $18

当然, 酒类不能报销。



Mark Bussinger (photographer)

Recently I read the debate in China, on drinking Maotai with public funds -  actually someone even posed such challenging "If not Maotai, then what?". Maotai, is an iconic hard liquor produced in China and is extremely expensive, and is distilled from fermented sorghum and now comes in different versions ranging in alcohol content from the standard 53% by volume down to 35%. Obviously, using public funds on food and drinks in China is a tall order for the U.S. to match.

University of California, as other California public institutions, has strict regulations on the amount of reimbursement of the travel staff. Besides the costs for traveling, accommodation and communications, the current per diem limit is $64.  Accommodation hotel should not bee too expensive; under special circumstances, such as the conference hotel is the only viable option, by special permission, one can stay in an expensive hotel. The food/drink reimbursement of $64 should not include any alcoholic beverages. If a person chose to drink, he/she must cross out the cost of alcohol from reimbursement request.

It is also allowed to provide some food and drink during official receptions using public funds with such limits:

Breakfast $26
Lunch $45
Dinner $78
Light refreshment $18

Of course, alcohol can not be reimbursed.

These regulations not only exist, a third party auditing firm periodically inspect the accounts of the University of California. If public servants violated regulations, they will not only be punished, and might lose their jobs as well.

Bottom up!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

善待服务员 - Treating Service People Nicely

Recently, a Chinese couple was asked to leave the airplane from Guam heading Shanghai, because the female passenger refused to allow the stewardess to re-arrange her luggage in the bin, while her husband told the stewardess to "shut up" multiple times.

It is a common practice in the US that customers treat service people humanly.  To command them like slaves, often seen in mainland China, is not a practice received nicely, not only the servers, but other customers as well.

In the airplane, the crew member should not fly if he or she feels he or she is not up to task, due to any reasons, while the plane cannot take off without a full crew.  Under such circumstances, the captain almost always back his crew member up.

In the past, even a very famous American operatic soprano had been asked to leave the plane when a crew member was upset by her alleged maltreatment.

Of course, that's extreme case.  But even in a restaurant, when a diner treats server rudely, it would embarrass his/her companion(s) and would invite hostile looks from other diners.

In the US, people do try to treat others nicely. 






在美国,人们总试图善待他人, 包括服务人员。

One Fine Day in Berkeley 2304 


Follow up:

Just saw a video - waiter spilled beer on the back of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took it very graciously.


刚看到一个视频 - 服务员

Friday, January 27, 2012

Governor vs. President 州長对總統

The picture of Arizona Governor Jane Brewer's pointing finger at President Obama has raised eyebrows and generated much talks both domestically and internationally, such as reported by People's Daily in China.

She was in the airport to greet President Obama, however the conversation didn't go smoothly therefore the finger-pointing.

In regardless what triggered this confrontation and how serious it was, the very fact that a governor can point her finger at the president much seem very impossible to imagine for many Chinese people.

Yet, once you learn that in the U.S., a governor is not appointed by President and was elected by voters in her/his state alone, you can see that not much direct impact would only to her, unless voters in Arizona feel her behavior unacceptable.  A president cannot punish, let alone remove a governor.  A governor cannot even remove a mayor, who usually is elected by voters of that city.  That is simple how things are in the U.S.

亞利桑那州州長簡 布魯爾的手指指点奧巴馬總統的圖像让人有点惊叹, 引起國內和國際很多评论,如中國人民日報的報導。


無論在什麼引發争执,或争执是否嚴重,州長布魯爾可以手指指点總統, 似乎让很多中國人無法想像。


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wiener Großer Musikvereinssaal – Viennese Music Association The Golden Hall 维也纳金色大廳

I have been intrigued by the exceptional pride some Chinese people took in the fact that popular folk singer Ms. Ziying Song had performed a solo concert or recital at the Wiener Großer Musikvereinssaal (The Golden Hall at Viennese Music Association) in 2003.  To them, Ms. Song's concert there was a proof that Chinese art and artist have reached the pinnacle of artistic achievement and duly acknowledged by the ultimate arbiter in the field.

A little online search told me that Ms. Song indeed sang in the Golden Hall.  But it was not a part of the regular program of the Musikverein or its associate.  Instead, her concert was presented by Austrian-China Cultural Exchange Association in Austria.  I was able to include a video below.

One can see, for example, at 2'33, the hall is about about half-full.

It was obviously not a pure musical event, rather, it was a cultural exchange event. Ms. Song relied on two program announcer which also struck a wrong gesture.  In the west, when the serious musicians perform recitals, they do not rely on announcer(s) to inform the audience of the program. The programs would be printed and if there is any encore, either the performers announce them or no announcement at all. With there two announcers on stage, the performance took an air of a circus.

It is not insignificant that the Cultural Exchange Association presented Song in the Golden Hall but it was definitely a testament of her artistry.  Even in a exulted hall as this, it can still be rented by presenters as long as the program is not going to do damage to the reputation of the concert hall.  Presenters organize the show alone and rented the venue, and other musicians and crews. The audience who came to the concert did not came for the love of music (alone).  This event did show that Ms. Song had strong backing and fans from Chinese government, who saw her as the good fit as cultural ambassador.

And that's that.



从以下視頻人們可以看到,在2'33时,大廳約半滿。它顯然不是一個純粹的音樂會,相反,它是一種文化的交流活動。宋女士依靠兩個报幕員也打了個錯誤的手勢。在西方,嚴肃音樂家演奏時,不靠报幕員告知觀眾节目, 而是打印的节目单。如果有任何返场演出,或由表演者宣布,或沒有公佈。使用兩個兩個报幕員,带来一個馬戲團的气氛。



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Libraries in the US - 美國圖書館

Libraries in the U.S. are very different from their counterparts in China.  In the U.S., libraries collect large quantities of books, audio and video materials, with few duplications.  Their collections are usually free of charge for local people to use, either in the libraries or at home.  Borrowing materials from libraries is very easy.  Once one proofs his local residency, he can obtain a library card almost immediately.

In the U.S., libraries also provide many social activities, such as story times for children, etc.  Usually, there are several computers people can sign on to use for free.

Libraries in the U.S. are open to the public and requires no endorsement or recommendations from other organizations for one to borrow books, unlike in China, that libraries there often require people to produce some "introduction letters" from their workplaces or resident committees before they were allowed to use the facilities.

The openness of the U.S., libraries and their service orientation make them very valuable in people's life.  In China, even highly educated people like my parents almost never use any library after their college days.

圖書館在美國与在中國的非常不同。在美國,圖書館收集大量的書籍和音頻, 視頻材料,很少有重複。它们的藏品通常是免費為當地居民在圖書館或在家使用。從圖書館借用材料是很容易的。一旦證明居住情况,居民可以得到幾乎立即一個借書證。


在美國的圖書館向公眾開放的, 用户不需要任何其他組織的贊同或推荐来借閱圖書,不像在中國,需要有從他們的工作場所或居民委員會开给圖書館的“介紹信”。


Berkeley Public Library - 伯克利公共图书馆
Courtesy Steve Masover

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Costs in University of California - 加州大学的费用

Recently, many students occupied campuses to protest the ever-rising costs in University of California, such as Berkeley and Davis.

The products of these excellent public universities are a great deal for sure, but the fast rising prices are becoming a heavy burden to the families.

The costs in the ten campuses of the University of California (UC) vary a bit, but in general, are in the similar range.

For example, website listed the costs at UC Berkeley as:


Cost of AttendanceIn-state: $32,635
Out-of-state: $55,513
Tuition and Fees
In-state: $12,835
Out-of-state: $35,713
Room and Board
Books and Supplies
Other Expenses

In UCLA, the costs listed on are:


Cost of AttendanceIn-state: $31,554
Out-of-state: $54,432
Tuition and Fees
In-state: $12,686
Out-of-state: $35,564
Room and Board
Books and Supplies
Other Expenses

For the perspective, we should keep in mind that the California State Median Income for FFY 2011/2012 for a 4-person family is $78,666 [source: US Department of Health and Human Services].






在校费用本州学生: $32,635
外州学生: $55,513
本州学生: $12,835
外州学生: $35,713



在校费用本州学生: $31,554
外州学生: $54,432
本州学生: $12,686
外州学生: $35,564

四人家庭的FFY2011/2012估计平均收入為 78666美元 [來源:美國衛生與人類服務部]

Occupy Cal 14 November 2011 _ 7951
Students protesting at UC Berkeley 学生在加州大学伯克利抗议